Which cricket balls are used for Test matches?
There is the age old cricketing debate which cricket ball is better, the Kookaburra Cricket Ball or the Duke Cricket Ball. Both balls are used for International Test matches. Test Matches played in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe use the Kookaburra ball. While Test Matches played in England and the West Indies use the Duke cricket ball. There is in fact a third brand of cricket ball being used for Test matches and that is the SG cricket ball being used in India.
What is the difference between the Duke and Kookaburra cricket balls?
Well for starters, the Kookaburra cricket ball is manufactured in Australia and the Duke cricket ball is manufactured in England. This may seem to be a trivial factor but the main difference in the ball is that they are designed to the strengths of the "Home" team, being Australia and England.
The major difference between the Kookaburra and the Duke cricket ball will be in the stitching process. It has all got to do with how prominent the seam will be and in what position the seam will be. This takes the meaning of "home advantage" particularly in Ashes cricket to a whole new level.
The Kookaburra Ball has a low seam in comparison with the Duke. The Duke has a more prominent and prouder seam. Having said that, the Kookaburra will stay at optimum swing and seaming position for 20 overs, at that point the ball will become easier to grip for the spinners but also easier for batsmen to play their shots. The ball stays firm for up to 80 overs. The Dukes seam will stay prominent for closer to 50 overs. This means that the Duke will be more difficult than the Kookaburra to grip for the spinners but also offer the best seaming and swing for seamers and pace bowlers.
Consider the reverse swing factor too. Reverse swing has a lot to do with the condition of the pitch. A more abrasive pitch, like one in the sub-continent will rough a ball up quicker and hence have it reverse swinging better. The English proved in 2005, Simon Jones in particular, that it is possible to get the Duke ball to reverse swing fairly early. The Kookaburra will do likewise. Both the Kookaburra and the Duke are absolutely superb and durable cricket balls, it is hard to say which is better, but Kookaburra Cricket Balls has the lion's share of the market.
See more on Kookaburra cricket balls here.